T.H.E. Show Newport 2012

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John Atkinson Posted: Jun 09, 2012 0 comments
Like the MartinLogan speakers in the next story, the Belgian Venture Ultimate speakers ($59,500/pair), distributed in the US by Precision Audio & Video, were set-up in a room that was really too big for them. Even at a fairly close listening distance, the room's reverberant field was dominating what I was hearing. Even so, on "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" from Muddy Waters' Folksinger, this three-way, five-driver tower had a natural tonality, precise stereo imaging, and a full-range sound. The 48.5"-tall, 152lb Ultimate has a specified frequency range of 26Hz–40kHz, a nominal impedance of 6 ohms, and a sensitivity of 90dB/W/m.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 09, 2012 1 comments
It is always a pleasure visiting the Joseph Audio room at Shows, not the least because Jeff Joseph knows how to set up a system to work with the room acoustics, not against them. In Newport beach Beach, as at some other shows, he had set-up the Pulsar stand-mounts ($7000/pair) along the room's diagonal. Source was Pure Music running on a MacBook Pro, feeding USB data to the Bel Canto. Powered by Bel Canto's new C7R integrated amp, which includes a phono preamp, D/A section, headphone output, and an FM tuner—wait a moment, isn't that we used to call a "receiver?"—and hooked up with Cardas cables, the Pulsar's produced an almost full-range sound. The double bass on the Bad Plus's arrangement of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" had body and good definition,a difficult trick to pull off for a stand-mounted two-way.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 09, 2012 0 comments
Channel D's affable Rob Robinson was playing 24/192k LP rips made with Pure Vinyl with the Joseph Pulsar speakers ($7000/pair), which have just got a rave review in the June issue of Stereophile. "Listen to this," said Rob, lowering Pure Vinyl's virtual tonearm on to the image of an LP on the screen, and I heard some familiar-sounding music: it was a rip of Stereophile's 1990 Intermezzo album, which Rob had picked up at a European show.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 1 comments
Zu Audio's room was like no other. While the "normal" set-up has components facing attendees and carefully stacked on equipment racks, Zu more or less duplicated the DJ experience. Spinning vinyl as if in a cage, and very happy to be there, I might add, sat Zu owner Sean Casey's delightfully high-spirited son, Ian.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 0 comments
Tucked in back of the FritzSpeakers room was a display from eNetFusion's Fusion Plinths. As explained by company owner Sunil, the company's made-to-order plinths are precision crafted to your turntable using exotic woods.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 0 comments
You couldn't miss the signage for PrimaLuna and Nola; it was as big as the excellent signage for T.H.E. Show itself. You also couldn't miss the sound: lovely, warm, and extremely inviting. Although the system was playing a bit too loud for the room, the system handled bass extremely well, and made timbres on a (yes) Diana Krall recording pretty natural. Doing the honors were the Nola Ko loudspeaker ($9800/pair) and three components from PrimaLuna: Premium CD player ($3995), DiaLogue 3 linestage preamplifier ($2695), and DiaLogue 7 monoblock amplifiers ($5495/pair).
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 0 comments
Audioengine, which made a deservedly major mark a few years back with its perfect-for-desktop-computers, self-powered loudspeakers, has just issued the W3 as a replacement for the W1 ($149, I believe). A plug-and-play "premium wireless audio adapter" designed to move computer audio around your home or office, it can transmit 16-bit signals to up to three receivers ($89 for a receiver kit) via a closed 802.11 network. (Those desiring to send 24-bit signals can opt for the D2.) Also fairly new are the Audioengine 5+ powered loudspeakers ($399 and up).
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 1 comments
This was a very special show. It was a joy to be there.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 2 comments
One of the three rooms at T.H.E. Show created by Scott Walker Audio of Anaheim excelled in solid, grounded sound with a firm bottom and natural tonalities. Ah, don't we all long for a firm bottom and natural toning. But I digress. In this room, YG Acoustics paired its excellent Kipod II Signature loudspeaker ($49,000/pair) with Sim Audio's Moon Evolution 700i 175Wpc integrated amplifier ($13,000) and 650D CD player ($9000)—both products that have been highly praised in Stereophile's pages—and Synergistic Research's Galileo cables, PowerCell 10 SE (probably Mk.III), and full complement of Acoustic ART devices. The latter were doing an excellent job, because the two Kipod II's powered woofers were in firm control in a room that rendered many other speakers' bass boom city. "Beautiful triangle. . .wonderful midrange. . .good three-dimensionality" I wrote in my notes. I wasn't handed a price sheet for the Synergistic Research products, but the company makes its entire price list available online here.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 0 comments
Episode Audio's Ira Pazandeh had one of the few home theater displays at T.H.E. Show. Arrayed before and around me were Episode Audio loudspeakers: Model EP-V front for two-channel and home theater front ($12,500/pair), Model EP-C for center channel ($6500), BASSY subwoofer ($2300), and, in the rear, two KOBRA surrounds ($4800/pair). Giving them juice were an Onkyo TX-NR 809 receiver ($995), Sony BDP-S580 CD/Blu-ray player ($149.99), AudioQuest speaker wire (approx. $50), and Monster interconnects. Playing Marta Gomez's "Maria Mulatta," I was struck with the nice depiction of air and space around the flute, as well as overwhelming bass (a problem shared by more set-ups in the Hilton sleeping rooms than I wish to count). I'd like to hear the system again, next time with adequate room treatment.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 09, 2012 2 comments
"That sound real," I thought as I approached the room shared by Oracle, Burmester, and Genesis. "It sounds just like Canadian singer Anne Bisson," whom I had heard live at an SSI concert in Montreal a couple of years ago.

Stepping into the room, I was confronted by, yes, the real Anne Bisson, who was duetting with herself on one of the tracks from her Blue Mind LP on Fidelio.

Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 1 comments
The Thiel CS 3.7 loudspeakers ($12,900/pair) were making bright and incisive sound with PrimaLuna's ProLogue Premium monoblock amplifiers ($4395/pair), DiaLogue 3 preamplifier ($2700), and ProLogue CD player ($3000); PS Audio Perfect Wave II DAC with Bridge/NAS server ($4795) and P10 Power Regenerator ($4495); and Analysis Plus Oval speaker cable ($500/pair).
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 0 comments
Scaena's imposing systems never fail to provide one of the highlights of the Show experience. Once the flashing light show on the VAC tube equipment was turned off, I was able to settle in and enjoy sensational sound through the Scaena Spiritus 3.6 System with Trifecta subwoofers ($130,000), VAC Statement 450 monoblock amplifiers ($78,000, presumably for the pair), VAC Signature MK2a preamp with phono option ($19,500), Audience Adept aR-12-TSS power conditioner ($10,000) and, for analog, the Kronos counter-rotating dual platter turntable ($28,000) with Graham Phantom Supreme 12" arm ($6000), Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement cartridge ($15,000), and Audio Research Ref phono 2 ($11,995).
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jun 09, 2012 1 comments
Okay, I'm running out of clever titles, but NAD had no problem producing beautifully controlled, welcomingly sweet sound from its all-new Masters Digital Suite. The M50 Digital Music Player ($2500) and M52 Digital Music Vault ($2000), a combo that can stream, store and manage your digital music collection, was performing wonderfully with the M2 Direct Digital 250W digital-input amplifier ($6000 and a John Atkinson favorite), Tannoy Glenaire 10 loudspeakers ($7500/pair), and Synergistic Acoustic ART resonance control system.
John Atkinson Posted: Jun 08, 2012 0 comments
Canadian speaker manufacturer Totem had a rather schizophrenic room, in which they had no fewer than three complete systems being demmed, one based on MBL electronics, the second on McIntosh electronics, and the third on Cary electronics. Totem’s Vince Bruzzese is shown here operating what I felt to be the best-sounding system, featuring a C31 CD player ($9200) and C51 300Wpc integrated amplifier ($11,100) from MBL’s Corona series driving the Earth speaker from Totem’s Element range ($9000/pair) via Clarus cables. The Earth uses the same tweeter and Torrent Technology woofer as the other Element designs, coupled to a passive radiator. There is no crossover in the woofer’s path, leading to an almost preternaturally clear midrange, but with big, almost too big bass.

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